Happy Halloween! Celebrate with this year’s 13 scariest movies
“Barbarian” is the freakiest movie I’ve seen this year, mining masterful tension from an AirBNB encounter between Georgina Campbell (“Black Mirror”) and Bill Skarsgård (“It”) before doing a complete 180-degree-turn to plunge Justin Long (“Jeepers Creepers”) into nightmarish territory asking us who is the barbarian? Best of all: it’s written and directed by a hometown hero in Zach Cregger from Arlington, Virginia!
If you like creature features and animal attack movies, Baltasar Kormákur’s “Beast” stars Idris Elba protecting his daughters from a killer African lion like “The Ghost and the Darkness” (1996). It also features some of the best kids-trapped-in-a-car sequences since “Jurassic Park” (1993). Pop some popcorn and get ready for an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride that would make Steven Spielberg proud.
‘The Black Phone’ (2022)
The trailers alone are enough to keep you up at night, but I loved “The Black Phone” so much that I actually included it in my bracket of the Best Scary Movies of All Time. It might be the best child abduction film since “M,” “Prisoners” and “Room,” this time starring Ethan Hawke with black balloons and one of the creepiest horned masks I’ve ever seen. There’s also a creative twist to the premise: his latest victim receives supernatural phone calls from the ghosts of past victims to try to help him escape the abductor’s basement.
‘Bodies Bodies Bodies’ (2022)
If you want something lighter, check out this horror-comedy about a group of rich 20-somethings, including Amanda Stenberg (“The Hunger Games”) and Maria Bakalova (“Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm”), who attend a “hurricane party” at a remote family mansion, only for the titular party game to go deadly wrong.
Daisy Edgar-Jones (“Where the Crawdads Sing”) is growing frustrated with dating apps, so when she meets the alluring Sebastian Stan (“The Falcon and the Winter Solider”) at the grocery store, she gives him her phone number. When he invites her on a romantic weekend getaway, she’s horrified to discover his unusual appetites.
‘Halloween Ends’ (2022)
The 13th installment of the “Halloween” franchise is billed as the final chapter between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, who first squared off on Halloween night in John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher classic. This also marks the end of David Gordon Green’s reboot trilogy after “Halloween” (2018) and “Halloween Kills” (2021).
“I have seen the future of horror fiction and his name is Clive Barker.” That’s what Stephen King wrote upon the release of Barker’s 1987 original “Hellraiser.” Time hasn’t been kind to the original (in my humble opinion), but the reboot by David Bruckner (“V/H/S”) follows a female drug addict who finds an ancient puzzle box that summons the Cenobites led by Pinhead (played by Jamie Clayton replacing Doug Bradley).
After penning “28 Days Later” for director Danny Boyle, Alex Garland delivered an Oscar-nominated sci-fi/thriller in his directorial debut with “Ex Machina” (2015), followed by the more polarizing “Annihilation” (2018). His latest horror flick, “Men,” follows a young widow (Jessie Buckley) who takes a vacation to the English countryside where she is tormented by strange men (all portrayed by Rory Kinnear).
Jordan Peele’s third horror flick was one of this summer’s most anticipated blockbusters. It doesn’t come anywhere close to his breakthrough masterpiece “Get Out” (2017), but it’s slightly more satisfying than his polarizing “Us” (2019). Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer play siblings who take over their father’s horse ranch and attempt to capture video evidence of an unidentified flying object. Is it an allegory for fame? Hollywood treatment of Black actors? Do any of us really know? Nope.
Earlier this year, Ti West wrote and directed the horror flick “X” about a group of young filmmakers who set out to make an adult film in 1979 Texas, much to the chagrin of their elderly hosts. “Pearl” tells the origin story of that film’s villain, Pearl (Mia Goth), who grew up trapped on her family’s isolated farm, tending to her ailing father under the watchful eye of her controlling, devout mother.
After horror classics like “The Last House on the Left” (1972), “The Hills Have Eyes” (1977) and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” (1984), the late Wes Craven delivered his crowning achievement with “Scream” (1996), which was equally horrifying and hilarious as he satirized the genre with Ghostface. The 2022 reboot is the fifth installment of the franchise, set 25 years after the killing spree that terrorized Sidney Prescott. It’s directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who previous made “Ready or Not” (2019), which I highly recommend.
Parker Finn’s “Smile” is grinning all the way to the bank after winning the weekend box office several weeks in a row earlier this month and grossing $186 million worldwide so far. It stars Sosie Bacon (“Mare of Easttown”) as Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who witnesses the bizarre suicide of a patient, then endures frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. Is she experiencing something supernatural?
‘Terrifier 2’ (2022)
Not for the faint of heart, “Terrifier 2” is technically a sequel to Damien Leone’s “Terrifier” (2016), but it’s actually the third feature-length film to feature Art the Clown after the anthology film “All Hallows’ Eve” (2013). Not for the faint of heart, this splatter slasher flick features gory sequences that have reportedly required EMTs to assist viewers fainting and vomiting in theaters. Proceed with caution.
WTOP's Jason Fraley suggests new horror movies for Halloween (Part 2)
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